21 Best Things to Do in Mount Airy, NC

Mt Airy, NC
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Mt. Airy, North Carolina, is well recognized as the town where Andy Griffith was born.

It's fondly known as "Mayberry," after the fictitious town from the 1960s television comedy The Andy Griffith Show.

The city of Mayberry is believed to be based on Andy's boyhood of Mt. Airy.

Additionally, Mt. Airy is well known for its musical heritage.

Surry County is the origin of old-time or blues music, which features banjos, fiddles, and other instruments.

The town was also home to legends, like Fred Cockerham, Tommy Jarrell, the Easter Brothers, and many others.

Interested to know more about this place?

Here are the 21 best things to do in Mount Airy, North Carolina:

Visit the Andy Griffith Museum

Entrance to Andy Griffith Museum
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Andy Griffith, a well-known American TV personality, singer, and producer, is honored in the Andy Griffith Museum.

The 2,500-square-foot exhibit, situated in Griffith's birthplace of Mount Airy and contains the world's biggest assortment of Andy Griffith memorabilia, was built by the late Emmett Forrest, Griffith's longtime friend.

Many items from the production of The Andy Griffith Show and the TV show Matlock, as well as a rocking chair built by Griffith's father, are on display, and visitors may tour the museum with a guide.

The museum is generally open every day for the whole year.

Enjoy and Relax at The Pilot Mountain State Park

The beautiful Big Pinnacle summit of Pilot Mountain State Park can be viewed from miles away.

The site is a year-round leisure hotspot for pastimes like bird viewing, camping, and kayaking, in addition to its incredible landscape.

Aerial view of Pilot Mountain State Park
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The park also has an extensive network of hiking paths and a horse-riding bridle route.

Rock climbers and rappellers may make use of the park's high cliffs, which provide spectacular views of the neighboring Blue Ridge Mountains and the Sauratown Mountains.

The view from Pilot Mountain peak
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Sample a Variety of Wines at The White Elephant Beer Company

The White Elephant Beer Company is the ideal spot for a nightcap in town.

They offer great beers and rums from across the globe and throughout North Carolina, mainly at the bar and also to bring home.

They also make their own stouts, IPAs, and other specialty beers on-site.

But the White Elephant Beer Company's lively and friendly environment truly makes it unique.

Shortly after you sit down, the friendly locals will start chatting with you, showing you around, and extolling the virtues of their town.

The White Elephant Beer Company also has regular weekly Trivia Nights and Beer and Banjos meet-ups, which can be an enjoyable and wonderful experience.

You won’t regret dropping by here whenever you visit Mount Airy.

Take a Walk Along Main Street

Main Street in Mount Airy
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A walk along the Main Street of Mount Airy certainly makes you drool over the attractions of this tiny town.

Interesting stores and restaurants are housed in restored structures.

You may look for the ideal souvenir, get your kids glued to sweets and ice cream, or see a play at the Historic Earle Theatre.

Buildings along Main Street
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Most shops along Main Street offer products for sale on the pavements throughout the summer.

If you've worked up an appetite, there are a variety of ice cream and pastry stores, as well as charming restaurants offering delectable meals.

People walking along Main Street
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Attend a Performance at the Earle Theater

Exterior of the Earle Theater
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Griffith liked to attend movies with his buddies in the magnificent Historic Earle Theatre, which was constructed in 1938.

The Earle hosted the opening of Andy Griffith's debut film, A Face in the Crowd, in 1958.

The Old-Time Music Heritage Hall and the WPAQ Merry-Go-Round, one of the country’s longest-running live radio channels, are currently located at the Earle.

You can also watch featured films at the Earle five days a week.

The Earle honors the region's folk music history, and national and regional music luminaries who performed here are now commemorated in the Heritage Hall.

On the brief self-guided audio guide tour, you may witness a tribute to them.

Visit the World's Largest Open Pit Granite Quarry

The North Carolina Granite Corporation's quarry is located just across town and is so big that you can even see it from space!

For almost 150 years, granite, the state's official rock, has been mined in this area.

Sadly, you cannot visit the quarry due to federal restrictions.

Nevertheless, an excellent free observation spot is high on a hill above the dig site, open the whole year.

You may be fortunate enough to witness blasting if you plan your visit just right.

You can also receive a free sampling and an information leaflet by stopping by the main office.

Pay a Visit to Wally’s Service Station

Exterior of Wally’s Service Station
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A short walk down the main street will lead you to Wally's Service Station.

This is a must-see destination for enthusiasts of the Andy Griffith Show and the fictional city of Mayberry.

The series' central location, Wally's Service Station, is a former actual gas station constructed in 1937 and turned into a tourist destination in 2001.

Gas pumps at Wally’s Service Station
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You will get some excellent picture opportunities here and buy souvenirs, presents, and candies.

Old gas pumps and early twentieth-century artifacts can be found at the station.

Go On a Squad Car Tour

The centerpiece of your trip will undoubtedly be a Mayberry squad car tour.

A cartoony, story-filled trip guide will walk you through a noteworthy ride around the town, exhibiting to you all of the town's iconic places, such as Griffith's boyhood residence, the churches and schools he visited, and the areas he attended growing up, beginning at Wally's Service Station with car alarms wailing.

A visit to The Rock, a historical granite quarry near Mt. Airy, is also featured.

Visit the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History

Exterior of Mount Airy Museum of Regional History
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The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, situated right on Main Street, has four levels of local heritage in the city and neighboring regions.

Exhibits about the earliest residents of the area, early settlers, and local heroes may be found.

A turn-of-the-century country shop is particularly noteworthy, offering insight into the time and how this vital community service functioned.

Kids will be delighted by the "Hands on History" exhibition, while music lovers will appreciate an exhibit of the distinctive music style local to this region known as Old Time.

Musical instrument displayed in Mount Airy Museum of Regional History
Badagnani at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit the Sonker Trail

Pies from Miss Angel's bakery
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Trying a sonker is among the most bizarre things to do in Mt Airy.

Do you have any idea what a sonker is? Neither did we before we went to Mayberry.

Sonkers are tasty regional sweets that are a mix between a cobbler and a pie.

They come in a variety of shapes and flavors, depending upon the place you happen to stop.

The Sonker Trail presently has five shops, and the sweets of each are sure to be unique and wonderful.

Whatever you do, don't forget to taste Miss Angels Heavenly Pies' versions, which are covered with a glaze created from regional moonshine.

Drop by Little Richard's BBQ

Little Richard's BBQ is an eatery franchise established in Winston-Salem in 1991.

It offers delectable barbecue in a laid-back atmosphere.

The franchise strives to keep the famous North Carolina BBQ heritage alive by providing the finest barbecue in the country, which includes hickory-smoked hog shoulders that seem to be continuously slow-roasted for 16 hours and are fresh when served.

The restaurant offers iconic meals, including pit beef, hot dogs, hefty burgers, smoked chicken, and grilled brisket, as well as sides, fresh salads, and vegetarian alternatives, all made using genuine Lexington-style techniques handed down through the years.

The food is served with a variety of sodas, casual wines, and craft beers, and the restaurant is open seven days a week for all types of meals, be it breakfast or brunch.

Know More about Eng And Chang Bunker

View of Bunker's grave
Shadle, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The story of Eng and Chang Bunker is fascinating. In 1811, they were birthed conjoined at the liver in Thailand (then Siam).

The twins moved to the United States and spent many years performing in circuses and exhibitions.

In 1839, they became United States citizens and chose Bunker as their surname.

The twins relocated to North Carolina, wedded Adelaide and Sarah Yates (both sisters), and started living in Mount Airy with their young families (they had 21 children).

The twin brothers passed away in 1874 and are entombed in the White Plains Baptist Church cemetery.

The Andy Griffith Museum has an exhibit devoted solely to Eng and Chang. Rare artifacts, newspaper articles, and photos donated by the twins' heirs are featured in the exhibit, chronicling their lives.

Mt. Airy is still home to a few of their children and grandchildren.

Appreciate the Historic Houses

Mt. Airy has a long and illustrious past. Many magnificent ancient houses are still standing, hanging on to their tales and ready to be told.

Some provide tours, while others serve as bed & breakfasts.

The Gertrude Smith House is a classic Victorian house with art and furniture.

It was constructed around the turn of the twentieth century.

The William Alfred Moore House, constructed around 1862, is the oldest recorded building still standing in Mt. Airy.

It features a classic Greek interior and a Gothic and Italianate revival façade.

The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History offers tours of both these houses, which are also on the National Register of Historic Places.

Dine at Snappy Lunch

Signage of Snappy Lunch
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Snappy Lunch is an iconic restaurant in Mt. Airy that offers substantial breakfast meals, handmade biscuits, and famous pork chop sandwiches with its own backstory.

The tiny diner, situated at the back of North Main Street in Mt. Airy, features two dining areas with diners, comfortable seats, photos from The Andy Griffith Show on the walls, and a relaxed and friendly environment.

Crowds of residents and visitors queue up to buy one of the diner's famous pork sandwiches, loaded with pulled pork, chili, mustard, coleslaw, tomato, and onions.

You can drop by Snappy Lunch for breakfast or lunch any time from Monday to Saturday.

Exterior of Snappy Lunch
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Go On a Wine Sampling Tour at The Old North State Winery

Exterior of Old North State Winery
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Old North State Winery is a historic Mt. Airy contemporary brewery and winery that provides wine sampling tours, delicious food and beverages, and live music.

The interesting dining spot, which opened in 2002, is housed in a refurbished old hardware shop on Main Street with a trendy, cheerful vibe.

The Old North State Winery provides a wide range of wines, including Chambourcin and Cabernet Franc, as well as Nobel Muscadines, Petit Manseng, and Riesling, all of which may be tasted on organized wine sampling tours.

A restaurant and deli offer delectable farm-to-table food prepared with ingredients sourced locally, and the venue hosts a range of live performances year-long.

Attend the Autumn Leaves Festival

Autumn Leaves Festival is a commercial event hosted in October on Main Street in Mt. Airy as soon as the leaves begin to change, as the name suggests.

You can enjoy delectable food truck fare and purchase a variety of handicrafts and artisan goods here.

Although the emphasis of Mayberry Days is unmistakably on The Andy Griffith Show, there are also merchants and food vendors.

Mayberry Days takes place every year during the third week of September, but confirm this online before planning everything out.

Order a Drink and Catch Up with Friends at Mayberry Spirits

Mayberry Spirits were founded to uplift the spirit by producing superior, handmade, small-batch spirits.

It is located in the center of Mount Airy, North Carolina.

Mayberry Spirits supports authenticity across all forms, from the recycled wood used to panel the entryway and interior to the mason jar chandeliers that adorn the store space.

They are delighted to provide homemade whiskey, handmade goods from local artisans, and artwork for sale.

The company also produces pure extracts and exquisite flavorings using its handcrafted sorghum whiskey and essential oils comprising vanilla, fruits, and spices.

The whiskey distillery offers tours, tastings, and one-of-a-kind handcrafted items.

Purchase All the Sweet Treats You Like at Opie's Candy Store

In the heart of Mount Airy, North Carolina, you can find Opie's Candy Store on North Main Street.

The "Olde-Tyme" treats you remember from your childhood, such Chocolate Covered Raisins, Caramel Cremes, and Double Dip Peanuts, are Opie's specialty.

Put anything you can think of in your basket, sack, or bag, ranging from jams and jellies to root beer barrels and crème drops.

They provide over 500 candies, the greatest hand-dipped ice cream, and delectable fudge.

Children and adults alike go from all over the nation and around the globe to Opie's Candy Store for the welcoming staff and hearty sweet delicacies.

Admire the Landscapes During Your Stay at Mayberry Campground

In the humble North Carolina community of Mount Airy, also known as Mayberry, there is a privately operated RV campground called Mayberry Campground.

The legendary Siamese twins, Eng and Chang Bunker, previously owned a 2,000-acre property on which the campsite is now situated.

Every site has complete hookups, including WiFi, 50/30 amp power, water, and sewage!

They have spectacular landscapes of the Blue Ridge Mountains from their multi-level park.

You deserve to sit back, relax, and breathe fresh air at Mayberry Campground!

Acquire Vintage and Unique Items at Mayberry Antique Mall

People sitting in front of Mayberry Antique Mall
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Did you schedule some time on your trip or holiday to go shopping?

The Mayberry Antique Mall serves as one of the most prestigious shops on Main Street and is situated in the center of Mount Airy, the birthplace of Andy Griffith.

With more than 100 top-notch merchants, Mayberry Antique Mall offers over 18,000 square feet of vintage, antique, and collectible shopping.

The mall is a terrific location to shop, whether you're searching for something special to buy for yourself or a gift to give your loved ones.

Drop by Mayberry Antique Mall any day of the week!

Visit Mount Airy Visitors Center

Exterior of Mount Airy Visitors Center
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Detailed information on Mount Airy, Surry County, and the Yadkin Valley Wine Region are found at the Mount Airy Visitors Center, open seven days a week.

It is situated in the heart of Mount Airy, and while it is closed, brochures may be located outside the building.

The Visitors Center offers organized Squad Car Tours, Trolley Tours, and accommodations in addition to providing step-on tour operators for visiting group tours.

Personnel can walk you through a map and explain all to visit and enjoy nearby.

Learn more about housing options, activities, shopping, routes, and restaurant details at the Mount Airy Visitors Center.

Final Thoughts

Mount Airy features a wide variety of restaurants and outdoor entertainment alternatives in addition to featuring several sites created or renovated in Andy Griffith's honor.

The city is a terrific destination to spend a day or two.

Discover the biggest open-face granite quarry in the world, a bustling Main Street, antique stores, welcoming locals, and beautiful surroundings.

If you're still unsure about what to explore in Mount Airy, just reserve your tickets and visit the city to experience it yourself.

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